* Has there ever been a better battery in the history of Omaha baseball than George Brett and Bob Gibson? The pair of Hall of Famers opened Werner Park — one day after the scheduled debut was rained out — in what had to be the most talent-rich first pitch in the city’s history. Maybe there was a barnstorming team, led by a Babe Ruth or Satchel Paige or someone of the ilk, that visited Omaha in the early 20th Century that could’ve come close for pitcher-catcher star power but Gibson and Brett both have Omaha ties. Gibson, of course, was a star at Creighton University while Brett spent the 1973 season with the hometown Royals. It was an odd sight to see Gibson lined up behind the plate, 60-feet, 6-inches from where a generation was accustomed to seeing him, not to mention having Brett on the mound, but I enjoyed the role reversal. The Storm Chasers staff has done a good job making history work for them in the context of all the newness this season and having Brett pitch to Gibson might have been the perfect encapsulation of a long ramp-up to last weekend’s debut. And if you haven’t had the chance to see Mike Moustakas play in person yet, I recommend you do that as soon as possible. Moustakas has been off to a slow start this season hitting .214 through last weekend, but he’s undeniably a future star. Not to get out of control, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him throwing out first pitches in Omaha 30 years down the road. * The problem with being bearded most of the time is that there’s no way for me to celebrate the arrival of hockey playoffs in the customary fashion. Like a lot of Americans I struggle to keep up with hockey until the playoffs arrive — come on Bruins, this is embarrassing — but that time is here both in the NHL and the USHL. The Omaha Lancers open their Western Conference semifinal series with the Sioux City Stampede on Wednesday night at the Civic Auditorium. Game 2 in the series is schedule for Friday, Apr. 22. Both games start at 7:05 p.m. Omaha and Sioux City split eight games this season with both teams going 3-1 at home. Omaha has the home ice advantage in this series but that’s the beauty of playoff hockey. It’s a crapshoot. Tickets are available at Lancers.com.


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